When I was young I followed the biggest gang around, the most powerful, auspicious group imaginable. My posse was run by the greatest of gang leaders, our very own Godfather Liverpool gangster William “Bill” Shankly, and later the baton would be passed down through like minded folk, commissioned with an assignment, a brief to bully, to impose greatness upon our foes. We would expose weakness, landing critical blows, all would be legal and above-board, but also ferocious, a brutality with a football at its feet, quick minds with ingenuity, geniuses to a man.
They would have preference and bias toward Silver, becoming hoarders with each new piece of swag accumulated, with all our defeated opponents suffering a malaise of jealousy. This would be what would draw me to a converted follower kneeling and praying at my Gods alter.
That’s my excuse for becoming a disciple a hanger-on to Liverpool Football Club, how my heart would become lost to those that refused to walk alone, a red army, where foot soldiers would hoist scarves above their heads and loudly sing about hope in my heart, and how when I walked through a storm I must hold my head up high, their hymn for this great church.
After many years being the biggest bully in our footballing playground, we would slowly lose our Godfathers, through Bob, Joe and Kenny sparkling jewels would be pillaged, we would not question them, believing they knew best, we were not worthy, our guides through the storm were at the head of the pack toward the sound of the sweet silver song of the lark, we were but followers toward an acceptance that the dark would change to light.
When things changed, the new members of our gang would be less supportive, less principled constantly within moments of overthrowing our incumbent pack leader, as time went on and our gang would acquire less and less booty, membership would not be magnanimous not as tolerant, they would assume a position of louder more boisterous if less educated stance.
The sweet silver lark would be replaced with a P45 which would be waiting at the end of any slight shower that may darken our golden skies; dreams that were once tossed and blown had now taken on nightmare proportions. There would be no hope in hearts broken by defeat to Sunderland or Bolton, they would sing the song but not walk the walk, that had become a lonely walk.
Maybe the more modern fashionable supporter of today has no interest in gang culture which in itself is surprising given where society finds itself at this moment in time, where glory has no meaning beyond its inception of a Wembley weekend, quickly forgotten replaced with talk of revolution and the masses drown out the old with a new song, a song without words; an instrumental made up of throats regurgitating boos, with only a chorus of “What a load of rubbish”
Storming the castles of forums with their right to opinion, compassionate support with volleys of crass indignation toward the institution they are followers of, with illegal punches, rabbit and below the belt with the lowest of blows, why I find myself the self-appointed referee in this illegal underground scrap, as they try to legitimise their brand of keyboard killings within the ropes of the social media ring.
I can’t understand why anyone wants to follow my team these days, one tiny miniscule trophy that wouldn’t raise a smile from a pawnbroker, in the space of six barren years, tactics that would only cause a shaking of the head, players that are over-paid for the under achievements, signed for millions by those who should be held responsible, taken outside and shot, and no goals being scored “We need a goal scorer”. Does that resemble the team you follow? Well it does not mine, my team are mighty men in red, passionately striding toward a new era of greatness, where the Godfather has returned to reclaim his gang and put them back at the top, it is a different kind of scrapping, and we need to learn those fighting skills, it may take time but we will get better.
Those new members trying to change the tune need not look to me for change, they need to look for a change within themselves, or ultimately find a new gang. I remember the words to that song when I was initiated into the gang “Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart, and you’ll never walk alone, you’ll never walk alone”
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